With over 5,000 miles between Philadelphia and Istanbul, Brett Brown has found an effective way to communicate with Dario Saric.
They exchange text messages over WhatsApp, a mobile messaging app.
"If there's ever such a thing as getting all fired up reading a WhatsApp three-word text, it is with him," Brown said at his press conference to wrap up the season.
Saric has remained overseas since the Sixers acquired him in the first round of the 2014 NBA draft. This season he is playing for Anadolu Efes and will choose whether or not he wants to join the Sixers next season in the NBA. There are financial implications to his decision. Should he remain in Europe for the 2016-17 campaign, he will no longer be tied to the rookie salary scale.
Brown has said he believes Saric will join the Sixers for next season. In March, the organization sent player development assistant Chris Babcock to Istanbul for over a week to spend time with Saric and monitor his workouts (see story). Brown had intended to make a trip there as well this offseason but was advised to put the visit on hold because of international conditions.
Brown has been following Saric's season closely from a distance. Saric is averaging 12.7 points (55.1 percent from the floor, 34.0 percent from three, 96.4 percent from the line) and 5.6 rebounds per game.
In addition to wanting Saric to work on his three-point game, Brown summarized his take on him this season as, "Shooting, stretch-the-court threes, improved free throws, continued toughness, continued ability to pass, continued ability to rebound and lead a break. But it's wrapped up in a more refined player, especially shooting."
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Without knowing if he will be on the roster next season, Brown already has a vision of where Saric would fit in. Brown sees him as what he described as a "four-three, three-four." He cited Draymond Green and Boris Diaw to demonstrate Saric's versatility.
"Watch the last six minutes of NBA playoffs and look who's on the floor," Brown said. "It's people like him. It's do-alls."
While the Sixers wait for Saric to make a decision at the end of his season, Brown will continue his communication with him, bridging thousands of miles and language barriers over their phones.
"He's great," Brown said. "I get a kick out of his English. ... He's a stud though as far as corresponding."
The Sixers are hoping Saric can be a stud on the court for them as well.